My 46er Finish on Esther and Whiteface Mountains

Saturday afternoon after hiking Seymour, I was pretty tired. I decided ahead of time to get a space at Tmax & Topo’s in Keene, a hiker hostel. It’s owned by some pretty legendary 46ers (they even made an appearance in the The 46ers Film!) and is frequented by high peaks hikers. So staying here on the eve of my finish, along with so many other accomplished hikers, seemed fitting.

I showered, cooked my dinner (trader joe’s boxed mac and cheese!) and hunkered down in my room, reflecting on the journey while other hikers milled about discussing their day’s hikes. I chatted with my bunkmate who had just hiked Marshall. He was considering hiking Esther and Whiteface the following day, also! I felt at home.

I slept like a rock, woke up around 6:00 am to quietly gather my gear, and snuck upstairs to the kitchen to make my oatmeal. Soon, my friend Jona, also a 46er, arrived and we carpooled over to the Whiteface trailhead at the Reservoir in Wilmington. I was so happy she was here! We were meeting Jenna, Colleen and my boyfriend Jordan at the trailhead at around 7:30. We started down the trail at around 7:55.

I chose the trail from the Reservoir because it’s less steep than the one that begins at the Atmospheric Science Research Center. After hiking 15 miles the previous day, I wanted an easier route.


We got to the cairn marking the unmarked trail to Esther at 10:18am. You can’t miss it.

I had heard the herdpath was nice and flat, which was a relief. 

It took longer than I expected though, because we reached the summit at 11:02 am. The weather had taken a turn and it became extremely windy and overcast. Not sure if there are usually any views on this hike, but we didn’t have any.


So happy to be at high peak #45, Esther (named after the 15 year old Esther Macomb who discovered the summit when she got lost).


The walk back was quick. Onward to Whiteface. At about 12:26 we came to an old ski trail, which was interesting to see. It looked like a tornado had ripped through there. We also saw Chair 6, which was pretty awesome.



At around 1:00 we got to the rock wall, meaning we were close! The toll road was just up ahead. The trail runs to the left of the road, my parents were parked up there across from the lookout. I was so glad they came! But, we couldn’t celebrate yet, I had to make it to the summit. The winds were so bad, the path up to the summit from the parking lot was closed, so I was a little nervous. Thankfully, we had the alternate hiking trail to climb to the summit.




Visibility was pretty bad, so we had to follow the yellow markings on the rock to make our way. Soon enough, we were there and the summit sign was right in front of me. I made it to the summit of Whiteface at 1:11pm, a 46er.


On August 17, 2013 I hiked my first two high peaks in the Adirondacks, Cascade and Porter mountains. I still remember driving up route 73 to Lake Placid the night before, the sun setting, casting its glow on the peaks. I think that was when I really fell in love with these mountains.

It has been one long, crazy journey filled with sheer joy, determination, paralyzing fear, and at times defeat. These mountains are nothing to mess with, and finishing some of these hikes was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m proud to be able to finally call myself a 46er!




We didn’t stay on the summit for long…it was cold and windy. We hiked back down to where my parents were parked. They had donuts waiting!! It was time to celebrate! We had some champagne, ate our donuts and then started back to the car.


Thanks Jona for presenting me with the Official 46er Patch!


We said our goodbyes to my parents (and Jona…she got a ride down because she had to be back in Troy at 5!) At this point my legs were getting pretty tired…but I had to hike the last 5.5 miles down. The descent was slow-going. Around 5pm we arrived back at the reservoir. Still on cloud 9 (and hungry!), we drove to the Noonmark Diner for a celebratory dinner. And then it was time to go home.


Mount Esther and Whiteface Mountain (45 and 46/46)
12.4 mi RT from the Reservoir
Ascent 4,187′
Esther Elevation 4,239′
Whiteface Elevation 4,865′
Total time (including stops) 9 hours


“It was tough. I was on all fours sometimes. I didn’t think I was going to get there. But I had to get to the top – there was some reason. God knows what it was but I had to go on. And on the top just for a fraction of a moment, the clouds lifted while I was there and I looked down and there a mile below me was Lake Tear of the Clouds, the Hudson’s highest source. And you know, that did something to me. I had seen something – I felt it.”–Grace Hudowalski, 46er #9, and the first woman to climb all 46 high peaks


Seymour Mountain

With last Monday’s hike up Cliff Mountain, I had three peaks left. Seymour, Esther and Whiteface. Seymour was orphaned in August after hiking most of the Seward Range, so driving the 3+ hours to Saranac Lake had to be done. I was not particularly looking forward to this hike, either. I planned to make a weekend of it and hike Seymour on Saturday and finishing the 46 with Esther and Whiteface on Sunday.

I left home at 4AM Saturday morning and was on the trail to Seymour by 7:45. I met a new hiking friend at the trail head (One of my 46er friends connected us so so I didn’t have to hike solo!) I was worried the parking lot was going to be empty and we’d be the only people on the mountain. Boy was I wrong. It was FULL!

The first 5.2 miles of the hike is relatively flat, following the blueberry hiking path. It was a gorgeous fall day.


It went by pretty quickly and before we knew it, we were at the Ward Brook Leanto (at 9:45AM).


The herdpath to Seymour is marked by a cairn on the right just shortly after passing the Ward Brook Leanto. It starts out gradual but soon climbs steeply. Eventually you see the slide. On this day, it was wet. And muddy. Very muddy. I don’t have any pictures of this section, but believe me, it was muddy. Eventually the herd path keeps right to avoid the slide. We made our way up slowly, arriving at the ridge (thankfully), passing by the lookout at the top, and then finally hitting the summit t 11:48AM. I was so happy to see the summit sign I nearly cried.


There were great views just beyond the sign at a small lookout. But after snapping our summit pictures, we headed back to the first lookout that we passed on the way to the summit to stop for food.





There’s a nice view of ampersand lake and ampersand mountain.


To the far left of the ledge you can get a great view of Seward, Donaldson and Emmons.

After stopping at the ledge for about 10 minutes to sit and eat our lunches, we headed back down, dreading the descent down the atrocious slide. I don’t think I’ve seen that much mud on a hike, ever. I also ripped what was probably my 5th pair of hiking pants during my 46ers journey due to butt sliding down the mountain.

At about 2:15 we reached the cairn marking the start of herd path, and now it was just an easy walk back to the car. We made it back at about 4:45 pm, in just under 9 hours total, including our breaks. My hiking partner and I both enjoyed a beer at the car when we were done…it was well deserved!

Seymour Mountain (44/46)
15 mi RT from Corey’s Road trailhead
Elevation 4,055′
Ascent 2,676
Total Time (including stops) 9 hours


Gear used: Northface rain shell, Kelty trekking poles, Kelty Amber backpack, Keene Durand hiking boots, EMS Gore-tex gaiters, Cloudline hiking socks, Platypus 3L bladder, LL Bean fleece gloves, Nike baselayer long sleeve, and EMS hiking pants


Fall in the ADK and Hiking Cliff Mountain

This past weekend was prime for leaf peeping in the Adirondacks! Sunday morning I drove up to Keene Valley to hike one of my favorites, Indian Head! Last summer Christine and I hiked it and I couldn’t wait to come back.  Just look at this view.


Monday was my first day off since Labor Day! Brendan and I drove up to the Upper Works trailhead in Newcomb to go back for Cliff, a peak we orphaned back in May when we hiked Redfield. It was going to be a long day.

It was in the mid 30s when we got to the trailhead. Brrr! We got there around 7 and were on the trail by 7:15. The parking lot was crowded, but we were wondering where they all were since we didn’t see many people on the trail. The 4.5 mile hike in to the Flowed Lands was uneventful. We passed the time chatting. When we got there, we signed in and headed to the Uphill Lean-to. We got to the Lake Colden bridge at 9:40am.
Looks like winter here
Looks like winter here
Then it was up, up, up to the Uphill Lean-to. We got there at around 11:45 and stopped for a brief snack before taking the herdpack on the right to Cliff/Redfield, marked with a cairn. I forgot the herdpath splits and Cliff’s goes to the right, and Redfield’s continues along the Opalescent. At 11:15 we were climbing Cliff.
We got some nice views while climbing. There was ice on the neighboring peaks!  Winter is coming!
The bog was a sloppy mess, but the “cliffy” sections of cliff weren’t as bad as I was expecting. There were lots of hand holds and tree roots to hold onto. There was only one small section where I needed a boost.
We arrived at the summit at 12:30, which was 8.8 miles from Upper Works. We made pretty good time!
Descending was a lot easier. It included a lot of butt sliding. I had to take my pack off and throw it down first before going down some sections.
After descending the final cliff, our friend took off to hike Redfield, while Brendan and I made our way back to the Uphill Lean-to for lunch. We got back there at 1:40. We shared some lentil soup and cookies. Perfect for a chilly fall day! We also had a visitor, a little Pine Marten! So cute!
img_4655 img_4654
We started heading back at around 2. Again, the hike out was uneventful. We got back to the bridge over Lake Colden at 3:00, stopping for a snack for about 5 minutes. It turned out to be a gorgeous fall day.
Our speedy friend caught back up with us with a few miles left so we all hiked out together.
We arrived back at the car at 5:45. It was a long, but enjoyable day in the mountains. I’ve got three high peaks left. It’s a bittersweet feeling.
Cliff Mountain
17.5 mi RT from Upper Works
10.5 hours, including stops
Elevation 3,944′
Ascent 2,691′
Gear Used: EMS Gore-Tex gaiters, EMS hiking pants, ExOfficio long sleeve, Reebok puffy vest, LL Bean fleece gloves, Osprey Sirrus day pack, Kelty trekking poles, Keene Durand hiking boots, Smartwool socks, 3L Platypus hydration bladder

A Visit to Salem

Last weekend, my friend Lyndsay and I drove to Massachusetts for a wedding! Two of our good friends from college were getting married! The wedding venue was only 20 minutes from Salem, a place we’d both been wanting to visit. We met my sister and her husband at Gulu Gulu cafe for lunch and drinks. I got the nitro cold brew coffee–it was so good. It looks just like a stout!


We only had about an hour to check out the Witch City. As you probably know, Salem is famous for the Salem Witch Trials back in 1692. Everyone remembers reading The Crucible in school, right? The building below is the last standing structure from the Witch Trials era. It was home to the judge of the trials.



After wandering around the streets of Salem a little bit more, Lyndsay and I went back to our hotel in Peabody. We took a Lyft car to the wedding in Danvers, which was amazing. I’m so annoyed that the Albany area doesn’t have Uber or Lyft services yet. It would be super convenient for times like these. Anyway, the wedding venue was incredible!




It was such a gorgeous evening. Congrats to my friends Melissa and Nico!


The next morning, Lyndsay and I decided to take advantage of the nice day and head back into Salem to explore some more. We hit some witch shops, saw a witch trials reenactment, got a tour of the Witch Dungeon, and then stopped at the Burying Point, the oldest cemetery in Salem. Inside are the graves of a Mayflower pilgrim and witchcraft trial judge John Hathorne.





It was very eerie in there. I can’t believe how old these gravestones are. After wandering around the cemetery, we walked to the Salem Beer Works for lunch, heading home afterward.


Blue Apron Meal Delivery Service Review

After hearing about Blue Apron (and the many other meal-delivery services out there), I finally decided to try it. I picked Blue Apron because I had a discount code for three 2-person meals for $19.99 ($59.00 regularly) and because I’ve been in a recipe rut and hate grocery shopping.

Note: this is not a sponsored review, just my honest opinion in case you were curious about these meals.

Friday my first box of food got delivered in a large box filled with ice packs to keep the food cold. I wasn’t home at the time but Jordan unpacked it all and put everything away, so it was in the fridge when I got home. They sent three recipe cards, along with labeled ingredients, indicating what goes with which recipe.


Last night I decided to make the Basque-Style Cod. On the back side of the recipe card, there are step-by-step instructions on how to cook the meal.


I followed it as I would a normal recipe, it was super easy. If you have any basic cooking knowledge at all, it will be be a breeze. The grain in this recipe was freekeh, something I had never heard of before. Similar to farro, it is an ancient grain made from durum wheat. Freekeh is a good source of protein and fiber, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids important for eye health. It is also great for the gut–it’s a prebiotic that can increase the healthy bacteria in your intestines which improves digestion.


While the freekeh was cooking, I chopped up the pepper, onion, garlic. Unfortunately when chopping the pepper I found some mold inside. Yikes! But I actually had some peppers in the fridge so I didn’t have to miss out on that ingredient. I took a picture of the mold and immediately emailed Blue Apron. They responded quickly and provided me with a $9.99 discount on my next delivery. That was pretty awesome of them!




Next I made the parsley and almond relish. The directions said to chop it up into a paste-like consistency, which I found difficult to do with a knife, so I threw it in my food processor to get the appropriate texture.



The relish called for olive oil, but I didn’t have any on hand (that’s one of the few ingredients they don’t give you, along with salt and pepper), so I used almond oil instead!

Then I made the sauce,  cooking the onions, garlic and pepper, adding in the vinegar, spices they provided, and oil. It called for olive oil and since I was out, I used avocado oil instead. It came out great!


Next I added the can of tomatoes they provided.


Then I quickly cooked the cod with a little bit of salt and pepper.


In about 45 minutes, the meal was complete!

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The verdict: it was delicious! The flavors were bright and everything was very fresh. The meal served two very generous portions. I plated them both and put one in the fridge for Jordan and enjoyed mine for dinner. Overall, I was really happy with my first Blue Apron meal! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves to cook and wants to try new recipes but hates shopping for random ingredients.